Lynn Compton and Jimmy Paulding squared off on May 7 in the first debate of a heated race for 4th District SLO County supervisor at Nipomo High School.
Before a standing-room only crowd, incumbent Supervisor Compton portrayed herself as a taxpayer advocate and watchdog for South County while attorney Jimmy Paulding touted his leadership abilities and work experience heading public infrastructure projects.
- File Photos By Jayson Mellom
- HEAD TO HEAD Lynn Compton and Jimmy Paulding debated South County issues at Nipomo High School on May 7.
Compton stood behind the most contentious decisions made by the current three-member conservative majority on the county's Board of Supervisors, and she said Paulding would flip that to a liberal majority if elected.
"You need somebody watching out for you," Compton said. "[Paulding's] talking points are exactly the same as the other supervisors on the board who are in the minority."
Paulding, in turn, called Compton "unapproachable" to constituents and held her responsible for politicizing the often-divided board.
"Local elected officials are supposed to be nonpartisan," Paulding said. "Bringing people together is what I do. It's my experience. We need somebody who will commit to a collaborative spirit to get things done."
The candidates debated public safety, water, energy, housing, cannabis, air quality, and the economy. Compton is opposed to the "inclusionary housing" fee on developers that goes toward affordable housing projects; in favor of streamlining development processes; against exploring a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program for the county; and against additional fire service and transportation taxes.
Compton, owner of an agricultural supply company, said she approaches county issues from the perspective of a small business owner.
"Every single vote that comes before me I think about how is this going to affect our economy?" Compton said. "Whether it's raising fees on homebuilders or homeowners, everything I look at I look at through that prism."
Paulding described himself as a consensus builder and someone with experience navigating government processes as a planner and project manager. He expressed support for the inclusionary housing fee; exploring a CCA program as a means to invest in renewable energy; more economic development in Oceano and Nipomo; and generating road funds through the state gas tax and a local sales tax measure.
"I see a lack in vision and a lack in leadership," Paulding said of Compton. "We need someone with those skills, someone who has a desire to work with others, bring people together, and focus on the issues—not partisan ideology."
The League of Women Voters is hosting a second District 4 forum on May 10 in the Oceano Community Services District building at 6 p.m. Δ